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EAC toys with single axle load rules

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 30 – East Africa Community (EAC) partner States are harmonising axle load regulations in the region in an effort of bringing down transportation costs.

This is after the countries highlighted the disparities in axle load weight rules at various border points as an obstacle towards doing competitive business in the region.

EAC Secretary General Dr Richard Sezibera on Monday said the harmonisation could bring down the cost of transportation within the region by as much as 50 percent.

“Transport in this region is three to five times more expensive than transport in Asia. If we don’t harmonise our axle load weight requirements then trade in the region will be at a loss,” Dr Sezibera said.
In October 2008, President Mwai Kibaki issued a directive, which reduced the number of axles allowed on Kenyan roads from four to three, lowering the limit of the gross weight of a truck to 48 tonnes. This is by far the lowest tonnage allowed for transporters across the region.

Burundi and Rwanda both have an axle load maximum of 53 tonnes while Uganda and Tanzania peg theirs at 56 tonnes.

Although most people know the benefits of regulating load limits, transporters in the region feel the governments are not doing enough to help them benefit from the rules.

Dr Sezibera however said failure to harmonies the laws would penalize producers, consumers and various industries as well as increase the cost of doing business.

“For example if one is losing eight tones and if you’re going to lose the revenue from those eight tones over two thousand kilometers that adds up to almost $1,600 per ton which is front loaded to the consumer,” he stressed adding this disparity was also slowing down full integration of the region.

According to a CPCS Transcom study, between 50 and 55 percent of the trucks plying Kenyan roads are still overloaded, some with cargo of up to 60 tonnes.

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“The axel load control measure will contribute to the avoidance of overloading of our road infrastructure and keep our roads on high standards,” he said.

He was speaking during the opening of the workshop on the harmonization of Axel Load Control Regulations in Nairobi.

Among the recommendations the EAC is toying with include reduction of the number of weighbridges in the region, privatisation of weighbridges and strategic placement of the same.

The stakeholders are also working on a bridge formula that will standardise the mechanism and systems used to weigh trucks.

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